[pct-l] New PCT Rules in Southern California Forest Lands

Todd McMahon isawtman at gmail.com
Wed Sep 24 10:46:28 CDT 2014

Hikers, please go to this page
And voice your support of the Forest Service Protecting the Pacific Crest
Trail. Again, Mountain Bikers are voicing their opinions that they should
be allowed on the trail. The plan specifically calls for the trail to be
protected for hikers and horseback riders. Information about the plan
can be found by clicking on "go back to main project page."  Then click on
"Detailed Proposed Action" and keep scrolling down to the part about the PCT

I have wrote my comments to the Forest Service. Please go and write your
own comments on preserving the PCT. The DEADLINE is Sept 29. Here is my

I think it’s great that this plan is taking steps to preserve one of our
National Treasures, the Pacific Crest Trail. When the trail was established
by Congress, an Advisory Committee for the trail was created to work out
the details and report back to Congress. The Advisory Committee decided
that Hiking and Horseback Riding are the intended activities for the trail.
One of the activities the PCT needs to be protected from is Mountain
Biking. The PCT was authorized by Congress in 1968, so that was way before
Mountain Biking even invented. The first commercially made Mountain Bike by
a major manufacturer didn’t happen until the late 1970s.

I think it is really good that this plan addresses the Mountain Biking
issue. It is really important that hikers and horseback riders can use the
trail without the fear of having a mountain bike come barreling down the
trail at them. Mountain Bikes can travel at a very high rate of speed, and
have been known to spook horses. If bicycles are allowed on the PCT,
horseback riders would be more wary of using the trail in fear their horses
might get spooked. So, mountain bikers could easily displace horseback
riders, one of the intended users of the trail.

Plus, the PCT is not designed and built for Mountain Biking. Mountain
Biking Trails are designed and built with banked curves and rounded
corners. The PCT uses sharp corners in several places where there are
switchbacks. Since Mountain Bikes can travel at a higher rate of speed
their trails need to be cleared with greater visibility, which is not the
case with hiking and horseback riding trails. Also, Mountain Bikes damage
the trail differently than hiking or horseback riding.

According to the law, motorized vehicles are prohibited on the Pacific
Crest Trail. Bicycles are mechanical devices that can have motors mounted
on them. Therefore, they do fall into the category of being a motorized
vehicle. And, increasingly, bicycles do have electric motors mounted on
them. Electric, pedal assisted bicycles are popular in Europe and are
becoming more available in the United States. As I stated earlier in this
letter, the first commercial made mountain bike didn’t happen until the
late 1970s. Now mountain bikes are very popular. The same thing can happen
with electric motor bicycles over the next 30 years. Eventually, bicycles
with electric motors could become very common in the United States. I
personally own two Mountain Bikes and would consider buying an electric
motor pedal assisted mountain bike when the prices come down.

Furthermore, in a letter to a Mountain Biking Group, Forester Randy Moore
wrote “Nation-wide the Forest Service provides the largest trail system in
the nation with over 157,000 miles within the system. Outside of designated
wilderness there are 125,962 miles of trail, of which 123,739 miles are
open to mountain bicycling (98%) and 12,389 miles of trail managed
specifically for mountain bicycling.” So, mountain bikers already have over
123,000 miles of trail they can use, and that’s just in our National
Forests. That’s not counting other Federal lands like National Parks and
Bureau of Land Management Lands and it’s also not counting State and Local
Government lands. Singletraks.com currently reports that there are 655
mountain biking trails in California, 175 in Oregon, and 145 in Washington
State. So, there isn’t a lack of places for mountain bikers to ride.

The Pacific Crest Trail is a rare trail. It’s a long distance hiking trail
that is devoted to non-mechanical forms of transportation. It is worth
preserving as a hiking and horseback riding trail for future generations.

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